Ohio Supreme Court: costs for DeWine's security detail at 2022 Super Bowl aren't public record
The amount of taxpayer money spent on the security detail Gov. Mike DeWine took to the Super Bowl in 2022 is not a public record, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
DeWine took 19 members of his family to California to see the Bengals play in February Super Bowl on Feb. 13, 2022, which they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. As usual, state troopers went along as DeWine's security detail. Those costs were not paid for by DeWine, a Bengals fan, who paid for his family's travel and other expenses.
The Cincinnati Enquirer asked for records related to the costs of travel for the troopers and any staff who might have attended. That request was denied by the state, which said that was a security record and not a public record. The Enquirer sued in the Ohio Supreme Court.
The court ruled along party lines that the records aren’t public because they were used to develop other plans to protect DeWine, and releasing them could compromise security.
In the majority opinion, the Republican justices wrote that "even though the department develops a unique plan every time the governor travels, in planning for future trips the security detail will incorporate some of the same security protocols that were incorporated into the Super Bowl trip and will also use this information to determine how the security detail allocates resources and personnel for the governor’s safety and whether security protocols need to be modified for a particular trip or in response to a particular risk."
"In short, the department has proved that the security records at issue are still being used," the majority opinion states.
In a dissent joined by his fellow Democrats, Justice Michael Donnelly wrote: "Although a bad actor could misuse these ledgers, lists, and receipts to glean information about the governor’s security detail that might be of some use in planning a future attack, we have previously rejected a similar argument against disclosure."
"It is more than a stretch to argue that the department has directly used a receipt for the purchase of gasoline to protect or maintain security," Donnelly wrote.
DeWine’s oldest son, Justice Pat DeWine, recused himself in the case.